ironphoenix (ironphoenix) wrote,

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Well, I'm glad that's over!

Tell me why - I don't like Mondays.
I want to shoot the whole day down.

--The Boomtown Rats
Yesterday, in a word, (mostly) sucked.

Yesterday, I woke up around 5:30 with mild pain in my gut, which I assumed to be gas. Over the next hour or so, it varied in intensity, but became more and more severe overall, and refused to move. After a while, my lower back got in on the action, seeming to go into spasm. Around this point, I checked for what the symptoms of appendicitis were, and ruled that out fairly quickly: wrong side.

soul_diaspora got up, and did everything she could to comfort me, including researching and going and getting some Gas-X for me, massaging my back, and so forth. No dice--after an hour, no improvement, which suggested that it wasn't gas. By this point, I had thrown up from the pain, and she asked whether I wanted to go to a clinic or to the ER. After a brief pause to consider the matter, I voted for the ER, and top_twin and Dad joined the fray to bring us there. We arrived at the General Campus ER somewhere around 10:00.

Let me just mention here: if you, or anyone you know, has to go to the ER, having a sizable group of supporters is a very nice thing. Teamwork makes this go much less stressfully. Because the schedule at an ER is unpredictable to say the least, things can happen at any moment. With three people besides the patient, one person can be away, one can stay with the patient, and one can go and get the first one if things change.

The ER was quite busy; check-in and transfer to the Urgent Care unit took about two hours. Once I was there, I still had about an hour to wait. Once they did see me, they took blood and set up an IV, into which they poured Gravol and saline, and then fed me a Percocet pill, which they said should take effect in half an hour to 45 minutes. Then they sent me to provide a urine sample and get an X-ray.

By the time that was done, 45 minutes had more than passed, and still no relief from the pain. A while later, they looked at the results and brought me in again. They explained that I had a 2.5 mm diameter kidney stone, and that it might be blocking a kidney, so they would have to get a CT scan for better information.

They also finally got serious with the pain, administering a syringe of Toradol and a drip of Dilaudid through the IV.


Ten minutes later, I could actually think again. Pain went from a 9 to a 2 over the space of 5 minutes. I was a heck of a lot more clear-headed with the drugs than without them, although I wasn't going anywhere swiftly.

The CT was available immediately, so off I went. This was my first time actually in one, although I learned the tomography algorithm years ago in a Fourier Optics course, so it was neat to see it in action. Unfortunately, it took them a while (a long while!) to get the analysis from the radiologist.

The nurse came over regularly to see how I was doing for pain, which was appreciated; as it turned out, it never did return, even as the drugs wore off. This isn't unusual: as the stone moves, the pain can come and go. By this time, I was getting a bit dizzy since I'd eaten nothing since the night before, but the nurse confirmed my suspicion that it would be a good idea not to eat until the results were in, in case they had to take more drastic measures quickly (an empty stomach is important for safe anesthesia in many cases).

Once the analysis was complete, the doctor called me in again to explain that the stone was moving and was almost to the bladder, whence it would be expelled. It had even moved visibly between the time of the X-ray and the CT scan. He gave me a little strainer in which to catch it for verification and possible later analysis, and a scrip for pain meds and meds which would dilate the ureter, and then sent me on my way with instructions to drink lots of water (8-10 glasses per day).

By then, it was 7 p.m. We went to the drugstore to drop off the scrip, then to dinner, then back to the drugstore to pick up the meds. Once I got home, I called ilanikhan and left an e-mail for my boss telling him not to expect me the next morning, and soul_diaspora called mustangsallie33, and we both took much-needed showers. Around 10 that evening, I passed the stone (painlessly, no less!), so the meds aren't going to be needed after all!

So how badly did it hurt? Well, the consensus seems to be that it's much worse than childbirth, from those "lucky" ones who've had the "opportunity" to make the comparison. I gave it a 9/10. The broken collarbone was generally nowhere near it, although getting dressed and undressed was No Fun. The only thing that might make it to the same intensity was the repairs to my face after a bike accident, for which the plastic surgeon couldn't use much anesthetic because of the distortion it would cause in the musculature. That was an hour and a half I won't soon forget!

Anyways, that's the happy ending; all that's left is to recover from the ordeal, and set up an appointment with my family doctor to get follow-up blood testing.
Tags: life
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